Soul Food 4 U

It addresses itself to every day issues of life from a Christian perspective. You'll be challenged. You'll be rebuked. You'll be encouraged. You'll grow.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

“I WAS ALWAYS ON MY MIND” – WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF YOUR POWER?

October 6, 2006
REFLECTIONS:·
Do not ignore, underestimate or overestimate Satan’s power (Mark Bubeck).·
Roho Mtakatifu [Holy Spirit] to an immature Christian becomes RohoMtaka vitu [Spirit of possessions] (J. Ng’ang’a’).
A Christian needs to be Balanced, be Biblical and be BraveTEXT: Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate theone and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise theother. You cannot serve both God and Money. 1 Kings 18:21 Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will youwaver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baalis God, follow him." But the people said nothing. NIVIn the recent past I have heard talks that indicate that the base ofChristianity has shifted from either Europe or America to Africa. Thatreminded me of conversation I had on one of the field trip to a communitythat is fairly active in religious issues. The sanguine caretaker of theguest house that I was staying in told me of how spirits (majini) hadinvaded a school adjacent to his church. When the senior most clergy wastold of the incident, he together with the other elders resolved tofundraise in order to get the renown sorcerer to help contain thesituation. The caretaker told me of how he offered himself to go for thewitch in place of their ‘bishop’. He went on to explain how the spiritswere exorcised and the church was doing very well. On inquiring whetherthe power used by the sorcerer was the one Jesus left to his disciples,the Caretaker was quick to point out what sounded like Jesus power was forsocial superficial issues while real traditional challenges needed anothergreater power. What is your view? Is Christ able to sort out challengesrelating to ancestral spirits and traditions?What distinguishes Christian faith from others is the source of ‘ruling’power. Power is the ability to influence the beliefs, attitudes andbehaviour of other people. The force or drive that that gives capacityto translate intention into reality and sustain it reflects who the Lordis and that is the one who is worshipped. The main challenge that we faceas Christians is the balancing between dialectical tensions caused bypresence of different sources of power. Time and energy spent in thebalancing act between the powers usurps from the believer opportunity tobe energized by Christ Jesus. Some of the main sources can be categorizedinto four broad groups;1. God who is Almighty, omnipotent and omnipresent. He created man andwoman and gave them authority to rule (Genesis 1:26-28). Jesus Christ cameto return the humanity to God’s intended position of ‘ruler ship’ thatderives power from God. As Jesus Christ was leaving earth he clarifiedthat he had been given authority and so those who believed in him werealso authorized to use his power (Matthew 28:16-20).2. The earthly system includes the structures that people come up with. Human beings tend to organize themselves in a way that strips others ofsome abilities. The value people have is related to products or servicesthey identify as valuable and those who have access to the ‘preferred‘products or services wield some power. That is how money is said to givepeople purchasing power. Whatever gives power is a treasure that attracts.Jesus Christ said, ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will bealso’ (Luke 12:34). You cannot help but consciously or unconsciouslyworship whatever gives you power. The chief executive officers, thebishops, the presidents are all a result of cultural organisation andplacement that give people external power. Power that is given by externalarrangements makes people have some hidden insecurity because it can betaken away. ‘ In an effort to avoid being hurt some people constantly tryto maintain control of others and dominate the situations they face. Theydispense approval and disapproval . . . they are unwilling to let othersbe themselves and make their own decisions without their consent. Suchpeople are insecure, lack of control is an unacceptable threat to them(McGee Robert, Search For significance, p61). When ‘Christians’ depend onthis type of power, they think that God’s power is not adequate. Thetension caused as people struggle to balance between what gives them powerand depending on the grace of God tends to skew them towards self service. While structures are important for human operation, we must be carefulnot to derive power from them.3. Satan and the demonic power is a reality. Have you heard there is an‘evil eye’ whose look makes milk go sour? In this category is witch craft,spirits of the dead (who are not waiting to wake up when Christ comesagain) and all other spirits that seek to control human beings. Satan usesvarious devises to gain control over people of all ranks in any society.Halloween is some certification of power that is spiritual and not of God.Paul had an encounter with a sorcerer who was opposed to the things of God(Acts 13:6-12) and he showed him real power is with Christ and all whotrust in him. Satan tempted Jesus Christ with power (Luke4: 5-8) and asour Lord quoted the scriptures, so we also need to know what is written.4. Human beings are not empty slates waiting for any one to in script onthem. We have a will and power to choose which power to allow direct us.The greatest tragedy in Africa today is people assuming they are under theinfluence of God’s power while they are not. Self can be a very strongcontrolling power while people are confessing to be serving God. Onedangerous aspect of lowered self value has its roots in traumas in thislife that cause people to be stuck in an infantile world in which self ispredominant. Characteristics of a person stuck in ‘self world’ include;Ø Lack of empathy. These are ‘counsellors’ who hardly ever listen to anyone else. You begin to share your experience and they fill in the restwith their story. Ego centric people are poor listeners for they do notbother to know what the other person is saying. They are people who cannotmourn or rejoice with those who mourn/rejoice because they have gonethrough rituals and other experiences that dried them up.Ø Obsession by one’s power, importance, or brilliance. Their ownachievement and conquests make the talk. The talk is ‘my committee’, ‘mystaff’, ‘my church’, ‘my trophies such as grades, children’sachievements’, etc.Ø Preoccupied with envy of others and will do everything to pull themdown. Desire to occupy posts and be considered a success is exchanged forthe glory of God who declares, ‘And My glory I will not give to another‘(Isaiah 48:11).How can one who is a light to himself be a light of the world? Listen toprayer needs of the people and you can tell the power in operation. Mostprayer needs are about the issues that Jesus Christ said are for pagans(What shall we eat and what shall we wear? ‘For the pagans run after allthese things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them’. Matthew6:32).We cannot be ego centric and seek the kingdom of God and itsrighteousness. To be preoccupied with self is to act as if you are servingChrist while the real concern is your self which is self deception.You do not drift into God’s service you have to have the power (Matt 28:18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earthhas been given to me. The power we have is delegated to us and it is notnatural. We have to allow Christ to totally influence and control everyaspect of life by daily, continuously selection to be under his power(Luke 9:23). Christian faith is not a balancing act but total submissionto the Lordship of Christ even when at times it does not seem as the bestalternative from a human perspective.Can we say that people are evangelised because they have churches andsocial activities that mention biblical terms while in times of crisisthey go to the sorcerer? If to such has the gravity of the Christianfaith drifted, might it then be that Christian faith has lost base? No man bear witness to Christ and to himself at the same time.